Drinking and socializing can be great fun, but sometimes you end up going out looking for a little extra to add to your weekend or weekday shenanigans. DC PacMan and Deer Hunter enthusiasts can rejoice because the city offers a variety of bars where you can whet your whistle and indulge your inner child with a variety of arcade and video games. So get your quarters ready and polish your heckling skills because these five bars guarantee to satisfy your need to run back the days of Chuck E. Cheese, minus the pizza.
H Street Country Club
1335 H St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
Looking for a place to bring friends from out of town, a first date or maybe a group for a birthday? H Street Country Club is the perfect location. Offering a variety of games including Deer Hunter, skee-ball and shuffleboard, everyone is bound to have a good time. In addition to the standard games, H Street Country Club also features an indoor mini-golf course and a full menu of Mexican dishes, so if you aren’t running to the X2 heading to H Street yet, you probably should be. As a word to the wise, lines for the gold course and games can get long later into the evening, so if you are heading there with a large group or a first date, aim on the earlier side to make sure you won’t have to stand around waiting.
1236 H St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
Atlas is home to a dozen old-school arcade games including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 80s wizards-and-warriors machines, Golden Axe, foosball, pool and darts. The space, formerly Eric Holzherr’s Fruit Bat, is now a haven for nostalgic adults looking for those simpler times, where you may have spent hours during summer vacation or after school pumping quarter after quarter into machines hoping to have your initials immortalized in high score glory. Don’t worry about quarters, there’s a change machine on the wall, so no need to ask the bartender or dig into your laundry change stash.
714 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
Tucked away below ground level and right across from the Verizon Center, Rocket Bar can be an easy miss. If you are one of the few that has missed this subterranean gem, it may be time to pay Rocket Bar a visit. Immediately upon entering, you will be greeted by a flashing, buzzing robot before descending into an impressively large, cavernous space straight out of the Jetsons. Rocket Bar is all about fun, which is evident in the availability of skee-ball, rows of pool tables and a variety of arcade games. Rocket Bar also boasts what may be the most generous jukebox in the district.
The Board Room
1737 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20009
It is hard to go wrong with a bar that is completely dedicated to games and draft beer. We call that a recipe for success. With over 23 different board games listed and PacMan game tables, this is the ideal location for an evening with friends or for a few quick drinks and game with co-workers after a long day. Board Room has a relaxed feel, aside from the various exclamations of patrons after making a particularly stunning play. Vintage game characters and classic arcade games fill the space, and it is hard not to feel a bit nostalgic. Word to the wise, if you are hungry, you won’t find much in the food category at Board Room, so make sure to either eat before or carry-in before settling down.
801 E St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
If you are a gamer in DC, it really doesn’t get much better than Penn Social. Consider it a game lover’s utopia. An expansive space, Penn Social is two levels of complete gamer bliss, offering shuffleboard, skee-ball, pop-a-shot basketball, indoor cornhole, pool, darts and a wide variety of board games (including an adult-sized version of connect four). You will most likely find yourself running about like you are eight years old all over again. Also home to occasional trivia and karaoke night, boredom will not be an option here.
Matthew Scott is a freelance writer covering all things Washington DC. His work can be found on Examiner.com.